What to Look for in an Office Chair

What to Look for in an Office ChairOffice workers spend the vast majority of their day sitting in a chair in front of a computer, and this can wreak havoc on the body’s natural posture, causing strain in the shoulders, back, arms, upper legs and more. Luckily, with the right office chair, your employees can rediscover correct posture that helps keep those issues at bay. But what makes a good office chair? What are the necessary components and features that will help ensure a happy, healthy workforce? At Systems Office Furniture, we have the knowledge to help you pick out a type of chair that will keep your employees comfortable all day long so that they can focus on moving your business forward.

Start with Ergonomics

We often think of the term “ergonomic” to mean “comfortable,” but it’s much more nuanced than that. The word actually refers to an applied science that uses design and arrangement of a variety of tools and objects to ensure people are interacting with them in an efficient, safe manner. When it comes to office chairs, ergonomic design simply means that people can use it in a manner that best suits their specific physicality. Many studies have shown that an ergonomic office chair does more than just give its user a comfy place to sit — it actually can increase an office worker’s productivity while maximizing their efficiency.

An unsupportive office chair, on the other hand … well, that can lead to far less productivity, as well as a variety of health issues such as a strained back, discomfort of the legs and carpal tunnel syndrome.

You may be thinking, “But office workers — and people in general — come in a variety of body types. How can one type of chair do the same job for everyone?” The answer comes in the form of adjustability.

The Importance of Adjustable Features

In order for a 5’6” employee and a 6’3” employee to get the same benefits from the same chair, it has to be adjustable, and without the help of tools — a worker should be able to quickly and conveniently adjust the chair to meet their needs. There are a large number of office chairs that are adjustable in a variety of ways, all of which are highly beneficial to your employees.

One of the first things to look for is the ability to adjust the height of the seat. The ideal height for every employee should be one where their thighs are parallel to the floor, with their feet flat on the ground. Dangling legs cause one to lean forward more than necessary pulling your back out of alignment. And if your knees are above the seat, you’re putting yourself into a hunched position — again, not great for the back.

You’ll also want to be able to adjust the backrest, of which there are two kinds. If the backrest is attached to the chair’s seat, you’ll want to make sure you can move it back and forth so that your employee can position it in a manner that best suits their task. If the backrest is separate from the seat, it should be height adjustable to hit the user in the right place, and it should be able to change its angle to increase comfort.

Basic Comfort Necessities

There are also some standard comfort amenities you should look for in your office chair purchase. One of these is support for the back’s lumbar region — the lower back. This can be achieveed with a contoured backrest, and it’s not uncommon to find an adjustable bar that provides extra support right where the user needs it most. The optimal lower back position should be slightly arched at all times, which helps minimize pressure and strain on the spine’s lumbar discs.

You’ll also want to make sure the seat is wide and deep for comfortable sitting. When an office worker is sitting with their back against the backrest, there should be two to four inches of space between the seat and the backs of their knees. You don’t want a seat that’s too long, as it can strain the legs and back. Likewise, you don’t want a seat that’s too narrow, as it can’t fully conform to every worker’s backside.

Optional-but-Smart Amenities

Look for breathable seat material, as well as a healthy amount of padding. This allows the entire body to better maintain its temperature, while also adding comfort. A swivel can make it easier to adjust your position around your desk, as well as make turning to stand a more natural motion. And with casters, employees can easily push their chair back without having to make awkward motions.

For Help, Turn to the Experts

At Systems Office Furniture, our highly knowledgeable staff is always on hand to help you pick out the chair that is right for you and your employees. Just tell us what type of job the chair is for and your price range, and we can help direct you toward the ideal chair for your work environment. Our goal is the same as yours: we want your company to thrive with comfortable, productive employees, and we’ll work with you to find the chair that can help you achieve that goal.